Today is my birthday! I’m almost exactly two months into this journey, and wow has it been amazing so far. Thanks to everyone who has been following along; I so appreciate your support.
Today, honestly, has been a long and challenging day, in too many ways to recount (although I can mention that I got up at 5 am—sacrilege to this night owl!) to catch a 4-hour bus from Fort Bragg to Santa Rosa. I’m ensconced in a hotel now, just south of town, listening to the rain fall outside and appreciating this comfortable shelter from it.
There isn’t much to report from today, and honestly my brain feels kind of fried. But Facebook reminded me of my blog post from exactly a year ago today, when I was three months into dreaming up this trip. It feels poignant and powerful to revisit this state of mind and these epiphanies I was having, so if you’ll be so kind as to indulge me, I’m going to paste it here below:
What a day!
Today [November 8, 2020] is my 48th birthday, and it occurred to me with a chuckle how appropriate that is, given that within the year I hope to begin circumnavigating the “lower 48” under my own power.
More importantly, of course, as of yesterday our country has struck a blow against fascism, and although the amount of political, social, and cultural work remaining to be done feels nearly overwhelming, this is something monumental to celebrate. And I do.
Having acknowledged these two personal and collective milestones, I want to share a bit of an epiphany I had yesterday about my vision for my trip—and indeed, about life itself—after a wonderful phone conversation with someone I encountered recently on Facebook.
Sara Eden and I spoke about both of our career/life paths, and it was an enriching conversation.
At the very end, she said this about my goal to raise between $35,000 and $50,000 to fund my year-long trip:
“I hope the money that’s wanting to be spent finds you.”
What a profound statement.
What a mind shift.
“…the money that’s wanting to be spent…”
After we hung up the phone, I spent about 20 minutes allowing my mind and heart to marinate in, and free-associate with, that statement.
One of the first things that came to mind was a sense of abundance vs. scarcity. I thought about how money is something that I have traditionally thought of as scarce, and that “asking for money”—even in terms of marketing my genuinely valuable services to prospective clients—has felt scary and painful.
I further reflected that my “day job” of the past 17 years has involved accounts-receivable work, in which I have to “hunt down” unpaid and delinquent bills, using postal mail, email, and phone calls to recover the money our company is owed by customers. I have grown very accustomed to this work, but at first I found it so unpleasant and frustrating that I wrote a humorous, blowing-off-steam “template letter” to these various customers (which of course I never sent, but my coworkers and I got a needed laugh from it) and the one phrase that still sticks in my mind from that letter was, “It’s like frickin’ pulling teeth to get you to pay these bills!”
What a visual. It conjures how painful it feels to ask for money, or for me to imagine someone “giving up” their money, even to my employer from whom they did take merchandise with an agreement to pay for it within 30 days.
And then I found myself laughing out loud at that phrase: “pulling teeth.” I literally met with an oral surgeon this past week, to discuss doing exactly that in my own mouth. My own body. Physically removing all of my lower teeth—to replace them with hopefully more secure false ones—probably within the next few months.
Losing my teeth was a theme of recurring nightmares for most of my life. But now that it’s really happening… maybe it’s not so bad? It’s just a part of my life story. So, how funny to see this as a metaphor: maybe my asking for money—and maybe others’ giving or trading that money toward me—needn’t be painful or difficult.
What if it could be beautiful? Joyful?
“… the money that’s wanting to be spent…”
Next, I flashed back to my high school physics class, where I learned about potential vs. kinetic energy. Potential energy is that which is “stored up,” such as a book sitting on a high shelf. Kinetic energy is energy in motion, such as when gravity impels the book to fall to the floor.
What if money is a form of energy? (I believe it is.)
In that case, the money that is “wanting to be spent” is potential energy, existing within the hearts and minds of those whose money sits in their bank accounts, waiting to be transformed into the kinetic energy of a bike trip with a world-changing purpose.
This line of thinking spurred a visual. (I love visuals!)
I pictured myself standing in the middle of the continental US, or perhaps on an imaginary map of it. I stood with confidence and joy, which filled my body and began a dance. I extended my arms as if to receive, and looked joyfully around in all directions as I danced in a fluid expression of all that I wish for this bike tour to be.
As I did so, colorful dollar bills were magnetically drawn to me from all around the United States, like floating autumn leaves. (It brought an even bigger smile to my face to enjoy the fact that our bills do now come in various vibrant pastel shades, rather than the staid green they all wore in my youth.) The money was being drawn toward me by the beauty and resonance of my dance, my purposeful vision. Like November leaves, they floated effortlessly, joyfully toward me on the breeze, and joined me in the dance.
I flashed forward several months, and these vibrant “leaves” of financial abundance were now fluttering all around me as I piloted the picturesque Brompton along the roads and trails of this country, surrounded by ever-changing natural beauty.
I am now in this dance. I am trusting that the money that is wanting to be spent will indeed find me.
Sara Eden suggested a few nonprofits that might be interested in granting me some of this money. I will follow up on these leads. I’m also dreaming up ways to offer my empathy and coaching services in ways that will be a win-win for this trip. As time goes on, I will make more of a push to encourage people to sign up for my Patreon. (If you find yourself inspired to do so now, I welcome it!) I’m also open to the idea of meeting just the right individual benefactors/philanthropists who have this “potential energy” money in abundance, and would find it joyful to transform it into something kinetic by supporting my trip. Really, I would like to find a variety of sources of funding. I wish for this journey to be a wide-ranging, community effort, with community benefit. But rather than seeing “raising the money” as a painful, shameful, awkward, or insurmountable chore, I will now view it as a joyful dance from which everyone benefits.
2021 note: If you’ve made it this far, thank you for reading! I have indeed found that some “money that is waiting to be spent” has found its way to me in the past year, and I’m tickled pink about that. (Special thanks to anyone reading who may have contributed some of that money!) I do, of course, continue to welcome one-time or ongoing/Patreon donations, so if you feel drawn to support my vision in that way, see the links below. I would also really love to identify some “fairy godfunders,” not just for myself but for others I encounter on this journey who might be doing wonderful things for this world if they weren’t chained to a “day job” to make ends meet. I’d love it if you could help me spread the idea of fairy godfunding by sharing this Medium piece I wrote in your networks.
Thanks again, and I hope this upcoming year will be magical for all of us.
Do you have your own dream or project, and would like some support or collaborative brainstorming about it? Use the green “contact” button above to schedule a one-hour phone or video call with me!
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Want to support my vision financially? I am in the process of manifesting $50,000 in lieu of a “salary” for the year of this journey. You can make a one-time or monthly contribution, or even become a Fairy Godfunder! (Heartfelt thanks to all my patrons and supporters!)
4 thoughts on “My birthday: reprising a powerful post”
Happy Birthday Maren!!! Thinking of you today! This was a birthday like no other! best!! Hope all is well on your adventures!
Thanks so much, Laurie!!
Hi! I love the idea of money as energy, and I agree that it is. Money as potential and kinetic energy is a very powerful concept. I’m thinking about it in terms of books. Someone puts energy into writing it. My “money that wants to be spent” purchases it, giving the publisher and author the energy, while I get perhaps a different type of energy from reading the book.
This stuff is really cool to think about. Thanks!
Ooh, I love that expansion of the idea. Yes!